THE Jerusalem Post’s senior Knesset reporter, Lahav Harkov, will present an intriguing behind-the-scenes presentation about Israeli politics at Limmud-Oz in Sydney and Yom Limmud in Melbourne next month.
Speaking to The AJN from Israel, Harkov said that she believes Israel’s diversity is “both its strength and its weakness” when it comes to politics.
“Most of the groups in our very diverse society get a fair say in the Knesset, and that’s important in a democracy so that people don’t feel disenfranchised. However, that makes it very difficult to get things done and to keep a stable coalition for long, so we end up having elections very often, which can lead to drastic shifts in policy.”
Harkov said while political challenges in Israel tend to remain the same, “their intensity comes and goes in waves”.
“In the coming months I think religion and state issues will be the big ones, and the Charedi parties in the government will test the limits.
“Just this week there was news related to Shabbat laws and conversions that push non-Orthodox Jews into a corner.
“I also think US President Donald Trump’s push to make the ‘ultimate deal’ between the Israelis and the Palestinians will put a lot of pressure on the government.”
Harkov said Israelis can tend to be cynical about their politicians, but that can partly be explained by a long period of when there was seemingly only one serious candidate for prime minister – Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I think by the next election that may change. Yair Lapid is becoming a serious challenger, and there’s a Labour primary coming up that could make the party a contender again.”
Harkov’s goal at Limmud-Oz is to leave her audience with a better understanding of the Knesset and its major political players.